Mozambique’s new amnesty law is meeting with resistance from activists outraged by the idea that neither their government nor its longtime Renamo opposition will be held accountable for abuses.
The new law protects from prosecution those accused of serious human rights violations since 2014. They include allegations of enforced disappearances, torture, killings, and property destruction, according to a Human Rights Watch report issued last year.
“Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi denies that government forces committed any crimes,” said HRW in a statement Tuesday. “But he still submitted the draft law to parliament, contending that it was needed to restore trust between the two parties, as well as to ‘promote political stability’ and ensure a ‘lasting and effective peace.’”
Yet this is the fourth amnesty law in Mozambique’s history and none of them have helped the nation to heal. Previous amnesties were enacted in 1987, 1992, and 2014, HRW said, but they did not bring an end to human rights abuses even as they permitted violations to continue with impunity in later cycles.
“Since a ceasefire in December 2016, the hostilities and conflict-related human rights abuses have stopped,” HRW said. “But the government has not met its obligation under international law to hold to account those responsible for abuses on both sides. It also has not established a national database of missing people to help locate those who were arrested, killed, or forcibly disappeared.”
Image: HRW file